Love in the Time of Cholera


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Edinburgh, scotland
Watched the film adaptation last night.

Director: Mike Newell. Screenplay: Ronald Harwood. Cast: Javier Bardem, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Benjamin Bratt, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Hector Elizondo, Live Schreiber, Ana Claudia Talancón, Fernanda Montenegro, Unax Ugalde, Laura Harring and John Leguizamo. Distributor: New Line Cinema. Runtime: 138 min. Rating: R. Year: 2007

This Gabriel Garcia Marquez epic is the quintessential story of unrequited love. One of the finest love stories ever written it is sadly left bereft of much of its emotive beauty by the films inability to portray most of the "memory scenes" that made the book so memorable. Marquez vivid and captivating accounts of the ravage of both Cholera and incessant war are interspersed throughout the film but so inconsequentially as to be almost irrelevant. And the heavilly rendered old age prosthetic make-up sometimes gives it the feeling of "Planet of the Apes".

That said to ever expect any film-maker to reach the heart and soul of describing loves duality of simplicity and complexity in the way that Marquez evokes in the reader is impossible. So I give the film a chance and tell what is good about it.

Its colours are vivid and evoke the humidity and heat of South America very nicely. The acting although slightly wooden at moments fits well with scene settings and the time period. It made me laugh many times. The variously insane neccessity of love is balanced with the reminders of how crucial it is to individual happiness. It is a poetic love that somehow makes triumph out of its failures. Dying for love is seen as the noblest way a man can die, and perhaps it is....after having first lived for it! And it shows that even in love there is no guarantee of happiness. Sometimes the one you love is not always easy to love all the time. So in that sense it delivered on the promise of the book and showed the beautiful uniqueness of every persons experience in matters of the heart. If only the director had concieved a way of showing the scenes from the book missing in the film and of dealing with the make up less obviously it could have been a great film. But it is only an averagely good one.

I've not read any of his books, I admit I don't really read fiction any more but I do know of him. I think the reviews basically said this film did no justice to the novel and I must say I was somewhat underwhelmed by it. 3/5 stars at best IMO. Not great, not rubbish, but I suspect it could have been a lot better. And yes, planet of the apes is about right. :p

I do not read that much fiction myself now. Though anything published by Marquez, Ian McEwan or Ian Banks is always swiftly devoured. Some might say that McEwan and Marquez are very similar in style, dealing with the complexities of human emotions artfully in ways we can all relate to. In this regard fiction can be a better medium in aid to self-reflection and making sense out of your own emotional conundrums. For me watching this movie was a tonic, even if it was pretty terrible, and reminds me that the long game is still in play....and to never give up hope.